Much has been made of the supposed rift between the GOP establishment and Sen. Jim DeMint’s “Tea Party faction,” especially in the wake of Christine O’Donnell’s shocking primary win over Rep. Mike Castle (and his subsequent refusal to endorse her). No sign of that in New Hampshire, though, with the announcement that Ovide Lamontagne, who received a last-minute endorsement from Sen. DeMint and came within 1,667 votes of defeating eventual nominee Kelly Ayotte in the GOP Senate primary, will headline a fundraiser for Ayotte next week:
Ayotte, who was recruited by national Republicans to get into the race, won with 38 percent of the vote over a crowded field on Sept. 14. The next day, Lamontagne conceded the race and endorsed Ayotte – providing a swift end to the battle, unlike the Senate primaries in Delaware and Alaska, where the establishment Republican candidates declined to endorse the candidates who toppled them.
Now, Lamontagne is raising money for Ayotte as well, according to a copy of the invitation for the high-dollar Sept. 27 fundraiser in Washington, D.C. obtained by POLITICO.
The invitation lists other notable New Hampshire Republicans as well: Former Sen. John Sununu and retiring Sen. Judd Gregg are headlining the event. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, former North Carolina Sen. Lauch Faircloth and former New York Rep. Bill Paxon are also scheduled to attend.
Money raised at the event will help Ayotte as she rebuilds her war chest for the general election after a competitive primary with Lamontagne and two deep-pocketed businessmen who each spent a great deal of their personal funds to compete in the race.
Ayotte had $823,000 in the bank and Hodes – who had no competition in his primary — had $1.23 million cash on hand as of the last financial reporting deadline on Aug. 25.